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How to Travel Around Australia on a Budget – Ultimate Guide

Australia, with its stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife, and vibrant culture, has always been a dream destination for travellers around the world. However, the misconception that it’s an expensive place to visit often deters budget-conscious travellers. Fear not, for this guide will show you how to travel around Australia on a Budget.

From frugal accommodation options to affordable activities and insider tips, this comprehensive guide will help you make the most of your Australian adventure on a budget.

DO YOU HAVE THESE ITEMS FOR YOUR TRIP?

✔️ Flights: Book your flights on Skyscanner 

➡️ Car rental: Rent your car on Discovercars

✔️ Travel insurance: I recommend World Nomads

➡️ Accommodations: Book your stay at booking.com

✔️ Activities: Arrange your adventure trips and tours

How to Travel Around Australia on a Budget

Let’s dive straight into how to travel around Australia on a Budget!

how to travel around Australia on a budget? Plan your trips off peak season such as a beach trip outside of summer

1. Planning Your Trip: Timing Matters

One of the first steps to budget travel in Australia is selecting the right time to visit. Australia is a vast country with 4 weather seasons, so timing your trip can significantly impact your expenses.

Let’s unpack the cheapest times to travel to Australia.

Off-Peak Seasons

Travelling during the off-peak season, which typically falls between May and September, can save you some serious cash on accommodation and activities.

This is winter in most parts of Australia, but don’t let that discourage you; the weather is still pleasant in many regions. Yes us Aussies still lay by the beach in summer.

Mid-Week Flights

Booking flights for mid-week days, like Tuesday or Wednesday is often the cheapest way to fly. Plus that painful 6 am flight, yep that is going to be cheaper than the leisurely 10 am flight.

I always start my search for cheap flights on Skyscanner. Skyscanner is an airline search aggregator that serves up the biggest variety of flight options and the cheapest deals across multiple sites.

➡️ Book your flights on Skyscanner 

2. Getting Around: Budget-Friendly Transport

Australia’s vast size can make transport costs a significant part of your budget.

Here are some tips to keep those costs down.

Public Transport

In major cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane (my home town!), public transport is efficient, cost-effective and easy to navigate.

Ridesharing

Apps like Uber and Didi are often much cheaper than traditional taxis, not to mention easier to book.

I would suggest only opting for rideshares if you’re out at night enjoying the Aussie pubs and need a safe ride home. Getting to and from major attractions will be much cheaper by public transport.

Rent a car

If you’re travelling with a group or heading off the beaten path, I would highly suggest renting a car. When I say off the beaten path I’m mainly referring to anywhere outside of the major cities.

Australia is a very vast country, if you want to explore beautiful beaches, islands like Kangaroo Island or go on a road trip of a lifetime, renting a car is your best bet.

I recommend you book your rental car in Australia through Rentalcars.com. They are a car rental aggregator that offers the best rates and greatest range.

➡️ Rent your car through Rentalcars.com now

Bus Travel

Long-distance buses like Greyhound offer budget-friendly options for travelling between cities.

Just make sure to book your ticket in advance!

3. Accommodation: Book Smart and Save

Accommodation is often one of the biggest expenses when travelling, but you’re in luck because there are plenty of ways to keep costs low.

I have been travelling Australia for years solo, with friends, family and my partner so have gathered a few great tips for keeping accommodation costs low.

Hostels

Australia has loads of clean and affordable hostel options. Tip, look for hostels with communal kitchens or free meals included to save on dining expenses.

In the spirit of true transparency, some hostels in Australia aren’t the most social. By that I mean, don’t expect the same experience you have in places like Europe.

People tend to keep themselves, but that being said there are still loads of great hostels, just check out the reviews before booking to get the vibe.

I love HostelWorld for booking dorm beds or private rooms in hostels. Hostel World makes finding top-rated stays that stick to your budget incredibly easy.

➡️ Book your stay at HostelWorld today

Camping

If you enjoy getting out in nature, camping is a fantastic option to fully embrace the great Aussie outdoors.

Many national parks offer affordable camping sites with breathtaking views. You can opt for camping by the beach or in the mountains.

This is a very cheap way to see Australia as you will only need to pay a small campground fee. Alternatively, check out Hipcamp which is essentially the AirBnb for camping spots!

But you may be thinking I don’t have any camping gear. Kmart (a popular department store here) would be my recommendation for grabbing cheap camp gear that is still excellent quality.

Airbnb

Consider renting a room or apartment on Airbnb, which can sometimes be more affordable than hotels, especially for groups or longer stays.

I always opt for Airbnb when I’m staying in a place for over a month as you get a month stay discount. Plus it’s much more comfortable and if you are working while travelling a hostel is often not the best fit.

A picnic in the park is a great way to travel on a tight budget

4. Eating on a Budget: Savor Local Flavors

Eating out can quickly drain your budget, but you can enjoy delicious Australian cuisine without overspending.

Local Markets

Check out the local markets for fresh produce and (somewhat) affordable street food. Don’t miss trying a classic Aussie meat pie or a sausage roll!

Tip: For a cheap classic Aussie lunch, head to Bunnings (a popular hardware store) for the infamous Aussie BBQ snag. Grab a sausage in bread for a few dollars that supports the local community. Win win!

Cook Your Meals

If you’re staying in hostels or Airbnb’s, take advantage the kitchen facilities to prepare your meals.

It’s a great way to save money and if you’re in a hostel bond with other travellers.

You don’t need to cook extravagent meals, the trick is keeping it simple with as few ingrediants as possible. A few of my favourites are:

  • Spaghetti Bolognese
  • Toasted sandwhiches
  • Fried rice
  • Chicken and rice
  • Omlelttes
  • Pesto psta

Have a picnic

Pop to the nearest supermarket to grab some French bread, cheese, dip and cold meats before heading to a beautiful spot outdoors.

Happy Hour and Specials

Many restaurants and bars offer happy hour deals and daily specials. Research local deals and take advantage of them. $10 cocktails, $5 wines I’m there!

riding a bike is a cheap way to travel around Australia

5. Stick to Free and Affordable Activities: Enjoy the Outdoors

Australia is renowned for its natural beauty, and there are plenty of free or low-cost activities to enjoy!

Beaches

Australia boasts some of the world’s most beautiful beaches.

Whether you’re surfing, swimming, or just relaxing, the beach is a budget-friendly option that is an absolute must when visiting Australia.

If you’re headed down south, these are the 12 best beaches in South Australia to add to your itinerary.

Hiking

Explore the stunning national parks and go hiking.

Trails like the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk in Sydney or the Great Ocean Walk in Victoria offer breathtaking views without costing a cent.

Museums and Galleries

Many museums and galleries in Australia offer free entry or discounted rates on certain days.

Research ahead of time to plan your visits accordingly.

6. Travel Insurance: Don’t Skimp on Protection

While it might seem counterintuitive to add an expense to your budget, travel insurance is essential.

It provides peace of mind and financial protection in case of unexpected events like medical emergencies, trip cancellations, or lost luggage.

It doesn’t have to cost a fortune either, check out World Nomads for an affordable quote.

➡️ Grab your travel insurance with World Nomads today

Visiting in a pink lake in Australia is a free activity. Making the most of the great outdoors is a great way to reduce costs

7. Budgeting Apps and Tools: Keep Track of Your Expenses

Use budgeting apps like Mint or YNAB to keep track of your spending during your trip.

This will help you stick to your budget and avoid any nasty surprises when you return home.

Taking a tour can be a more affordable way of travelling around Australia such as a stand up paddle boarding tour

8. Local Tips: Connect with Locals for Insights

Locals can provide invaluable insights into budget-friendly activities, hidden gems, and how to get the best discounts.

Don’t be afraid to strike up conversations with locals, join local Facebook groups, or use Couchsurfing to connect with residents who can share their tips and experiences.

Aussies are very friendly and love to chit chat. Whether its a simple hello as you pass someone on the street, small talk with the barista or banter with a bartender, don’t be shy!

Staying in a cabin further from the city is a great way to travel around Australia on a budget

Where to stay in Australia on a Budget

Below are my favourite hostels in Australia that I recommend you check out!

???? Wake Up Bondi Hostel (from $38/night this is the best hostel in the famous Bondi)

???? Sydney Harbour YHA (Hostel with an incredible view of Sydney Opera House)

???? Cairns Central YHA (Perfect place to stay if visiting the Great Barrier Reef)

????Selina Brisbane (Perfectly located and freshly renovated with a range of ensuite rooms from private rooms to bunks. I love Selina Hostels, they offer excellent value.

???? Selina Central Melbourne (⭐ 9.3/10 230 reviews, enough said)

FAQs: How to Travel Around Australia on a Budget

Moving onto some commonly asked questions about how to travel around Australia on a budget.

What’s the cheapest way to travel around Australia?

The cheapest way to travel around Australia is by using a combination of budget-friendly transportat options.

In major cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, use public buses, trains, and trams.

For intercity travel, long-distance buses like Greyhound often offer cost-effective fares.

If you’re travelling with a group or travelling outside of the city, renting a car is the best way to explore more remote areas.

And lasty, why not embrace camping to reduce accommodation costs. Australia has numerous scenic campgrounds in national parks and coastal areas.

What is the most efficient way to get around in Australia?

The most efficient way to get around Australia ultimately depends on your itinerary.

For covering long distances quickly, domestic flights are your best bet. Airlines like Qantas, Virgin Australia, and Jetstar offer frequent flights between major cities.

Booking well in advance is essential to get the cheapest fares.

Check out flight prices and schedules on Skyscanner.com.

If you plan to head on a road trip (which is one of the best ways to see Australia) or are wanting to explore remote areas, I suggest you rent a car.

This option is great for off-the-beaten-path adventures.

When getting around the major cities, public transport is efficient, with well-connected networks of buses, trams, and trains. This is often the most efficient way to navigate urban areas.

How much money do you need to travel around Australia?

The amount of money you’ll need to travel around Australia varies widely depending on your travel style, duration, and activities.

On a budget, you can aim for approximately AUD 80-110 per day. This covers accommodation in hostels or budget Airbnb options, self-cooked meals, and affordable transport.

For a more comfortable experience with mid-range accommodation and occasional dining out, plan for around AUD 150-250 per day.

Luxury travellers can expect to spend AUD 300 or more daily.

It’s essential to factor in additional costs for activities, entrance fees to attractions, travel insurance, and unforeseen expenses.

For more detail on the costs of travelling Australia check out my guide here ➡️ Is Australia expensive to travel?

Can you travel Australia cheaply?

Absolutely! Australia can be travelled on a budget with proper planning and smart choices.

Affordable accommodation, public transport, and self-cooked meals can significantly reduce expenses.

Free and low-cost activities, like hiking, exploring beaches, and visiting public museums, offer fantastic experiences without breaking the bank.

By prioritizing budget-friendly options, connecting with locals for insider tips, and using budgeting tools to track expenses, you can explore Australia without emptying your wallet.

Remember, the Land Down Under has plenty of adventures waiting for travelers of all budgets.

how to travel around Australia on a budget? Chose your accommodation wisely, stick to outdoor activities and reduce eating out

The Wrap-Up: How to Travel Around Australia on a Budget

Australia offers an incredible array of experiences for budget-conscious travellers.

By planning your trip strategically, making savvy choices on accommodation, transport, where you eat, and taking advantage of free and affordable activities, you can explore the Land Down Under without draining your wallet.

Remember that the most memorable experiences often come from immersing yourself in local culture, which doesn’t necessarily require spending a fortune.

So, pack your bags, set your budget, and get ready to embark on an adventure of a lifetime in Australia without breaking the bank.

Safe travels, see you in Australia!

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